Sunday, June 19, 2022

D&D Introduction to Wandcraft, Pt. 3

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Part 1: Initiative, Deflecting, Disarming, Wands’ Natures

Part 2: Wand Allegiance, Advancement, Willpower

Artwork: Moptop4000 on Deviantart

 

Flick Wendigrint’s Dictionary of Wand Woods and Other Materials, Abridged

            Materials used to fabricate wands +2 or better possess specific features, aside from natural appearance and texture. The first is Pliability, which affects how likely a wand is to accept a compatible owner. The more flexible a wand is, the more easily it will accommodate itself to a new spellcaster. On the other hand, flexible wands have subsequent requirements after an allegiance has been established, while unbending ones do not. Pliability isn’t an issue if a spellcaster already owned a wand since it was a +1 rated device (but it should be for anybody else thereafter). Bone and ivory are included here although they aren't "wood" because they are fairly common wands.

Pliability: It is rated from –2 to +2 as follows, –2 Unyielding, –1 Rigid, 0 Slightly Pliant, +1 Reasonably Bendable, +2 Supple. These ratings do not reflect the natural strength of the material but rather its enchantment. When a compatible spellcaster takes possession of a wand +2 or better, it requires a test in the form of an attribute check. Treat the Pliability rating as a modifier to the attribute check, with minus counting as penalties and plusses counting as bonuses. The description specifies the attribute to check. If the test passes, the wand accepts the new owner. If it fails, the spellcaster may try once more after earning a new experience level.

Requirement: Reasonably Bendable and Supple wands have requirements that are listed in the description. Until these requirements are met, wands only function as +1 devices.

Preferences: Some materials are better suited for certain spellcasters than others. Using AD&D game mechanics, wands with their preferred owners improve every other new experience level instead of every 3. Using D&D Becmi game mechanics (b/x, Classic, etc.), wands owned by preferred spellcasters improve every 3 new experience levels instead of every 5. Wand improvement is explained in the previous article. A +1 wand improving to +2 automatically develops the preference listed for the material from which it was crafted.

Affinity: Wands also favor a certain type of magic. A detailed explanation follows after the chart below.

Durability: Unprotected wands abandoned in ruins or dungeons without careful protection may eventually decay or sustain insect damage. Thanks to their enchantments, basic durability is 50 years. For each instance of being subject to either decay or insect damage, subtract 10 years. For each instance of being resistant to either form of damage, add 20 years. If immune to only one type of damage, add 50 years. If immune to both, the wand sustains no damage from time and adverse conditions. 

NB. In the following chart Good and Evil refer to the AD&D game system’s alignments, while Lawful and Chaotic only refer to the simpler OSR-style alignments. Use your best judgment in potentially debatable situations.

Material

Description

Acacia

Pliability: +2 (Constitution)
Requirement: A daily drop of slug mucus smeared upon it.
Preference: Demi-Humans
Affinity: Illusion, warbling
Details: Rich deep brown; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Agar

Pliability: 0 (Charisma)
Requirement: None
Preference: Spellcasters with 13+ Wisdom.
Affinity: Invocation, whispering
Details: Medium to dark brown; woody, myrrh-like fragrance with subtle fruity-floral hints; subject to decay and insect damage.

Alder

Pliability: –1 (Wisdom)
Requirement: None
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Conjuration, growling
Details: Almost white to tan or pale, pinkish brown; smooth, lightweight; subject to decay and insect damage.

Amaranth

Pliability: –2 (Charisma)
Requirement: None
Preference: Good or Lawful spellcasters
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Also known as purpleheart wood, medium brown with faint plum accents to intense eggplant purple; dense, heavyweight; resistant to decay but subject to insect damage.

Applewood

Pliability: 0 (Dexterity)
Requirement: None
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Light reddish or grayish brown to a deeper ruddy brown; subject to decay and insect damage.

Ash

Pliability: 0 (Dexterity)
Requirement: None
Preference: Female spellcasters
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: White and gold with some gray streaks; coarse, lightweight; resistant to decay but subject to insect damage.

Beech

Pliability: +2 (Wisdom)
Requirement: Free a bird from a cage weekly.
Preference:  Demi-humans
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Pale yellow, lightweight; subject to decay and insect damage.

Birch

Pliability: +1 (Constitution)
Requirement: Sing a song daily
Preference: Female spellcasters
Affinity: Illusion, warbling
Details: White to yellow, possibly with black streaks throughout; heavyweight; subject to decay and insect damage.

Black Walnut

Pliability: +1 (Wisdom)
Requirement: Cast a daily spell of darkness.
Preference: Monstrous spellcasters
Affinity: Necromancy, moaning
Details: Dark chocolate brown with darker streaks; immune to decay but subject to insect damage.

Blackthorn

Pliability: –1 (Strength)
Requirement: None
Preference: Monstrous spellcasters
Affinity: Abjuration, wuthering
Details: Reddish-brown, slightly wavy or knobby surface; subject to decay and insect damage.

Bloodwood

Pliability: +2 (Strength)
Requirement: A daily drop of blood smeared upon it.
Preference: Evil or chaotic spellcasters
Affinity: Necromancy, moaning
Details: Rich pinkish red to reddish brown; smooth, heavyweight, good natural luster, somewhat chatoyant; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Bone

Pliability: 0 (Constitution)
Requirement:
Must touch flesh at death’s door once per moon cycle.
Preference: Evil or chaotic spellcasters
Affinity: Necromancy, moaning
Details: Pale white or gray, lightweight; subject to decay and insect damage.

Cedar

Pliability: +1 (Charisma)
Requirement: Wear maroon jewelry or clothing
Preference: Demi-humans
Affinity: Conjuration, growling
Details: Reddish or violet brown; aromatic, lightweight; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Cherry

Pliability: +1 (Charisma)
Requirement: Cast a daily charm spell.
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Creamy white to red or reddish-brown, smooth; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Dogwood

Pliability: –2 (Charisma)
Requirement:
None
Preference: Lupins or werewolves
Affinity: Conjuration, growling
Details: Cream to pale pink; smooth with a moderate natural luster; subject to decay and insect damage.

Ebony

Pliability: +2 (Constitution)
Requirement: Wear black jewelry or clothing.
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Necromancy, moaning
Details: Jet black, smooth, great natural luster. Resistant to decay but subject to insect damage.

Elder

Pliability: 0 (Wisdom)
Requirement:
None
Preference: Demi-humans
Affinity: Divination, fluttering
Details: Pale white, sometimes with a yellow/green hue; subject to decay and insect damage.

Elm

Pliability: +1 (Dexterity)
Requirement:
Possess a familiar
Preference: Female spellcasters
Affinity: Invocation, whispering
Details: Light to medium reddish brown; coarse, uneven feel; subject to decay and insect damage.

Fir

Pliability: +1 (Dexterity)
Requirement: Plant a fir tree once per lunar cycle.
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Reddish tan, durable; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Hawthorn

Pliability: +2 (Charisma)
Requirement: Perform one minor larceny daily.
Preference: Thieving spellcasters
Affinity: Enchantment, rattling
Details: Cream colored; subject to decay and insect damage.

Holly

Pliability: 0 (Constitution)
Requirement:
None
Preference: Demi-humans
Affinity: Abjuration, wuthering
Details: Uniform, pale white color with no visible grain pattern; smooth, somewhat knotty with a moderate natural luster; subject to decay and insect damage.

Hornbeam

Pliability: +1 (Wisdom)
Requirement:
Wear a horned skullcap.
Preference: Combat-skilled spellcasters
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Nearly white; subject to decay and insect damage.

Ironwood

Pliability: –2 (Strength)
Requirement: None
Preference: Combat-skilled spellcasters
Affinity: Invocation, whispering
Details: A range of reds, oranges, violets, and browns; heavyweight with a high natural luster; immune to decay and insect damage; some may be fashioned as daggers or stilettos.

Ivory

Pliability: –1 (Wisdom)
Requirement:
None
Preference: Female spellcasters
Affinity: Enchantment, rattling
Details: Pale yellow to off-white; high natural luster; subject to decay but resistant to insect damage.

Larch

Pliability: +2 (Dexterity)
Requirement: Speak one believable lie daily.
Preference: Evil or chaotic spellcasters
Affinity: Illusion, warbling
Details: Deep reddish-brown to pale creamy white; coarse, heavyweight; resistant to decay but subject to insect damage.

Laurel

Pliability: +2 (Strength)
Requirement: Wear white jewelry or clothing.
Preference: Demi-humans
Affinity: Illusion, warbling
Details: Light to medium reddish-brown color; subject to decay and insect damage.

Mahogany

Pliability: –2 (Charisma)
Requirement: None
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Enchantment, rattling
Details: Rich red or brown-red, very smooth; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Maple

Pliability: –1 (Constitution)
Requirement: None
Preference: Spellcasters with 13+ Cha
Affinity: Illusion, warbling
Details: Lightly-colored white, yellow, or a rich golden; subject to decay and insect damage

Oak

Pliability: +1 (Strength)
Requirement: Wear a long beard or a topknot.
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Slightly red or pale yellow, coarse; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Olive Wood

Pliability: –1 (Constitution)
Requirement: None
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Invocation, whispering
Details: Cream or yellowish brown, with darker contrasting streaks; subject to decay and insect damage.

Pine

Pliability: +2 (Dexterity)
Requirement: Wear dark green jewelry or clothing.
Preference: True-Neutral spellcasters
Affinity: Abjuration, wuthering
Details: Pale or yellow, knotty, lightweight; subject to decay and insect damage.

Poplar

Pliability: +2 (Wisdom)
Requirement:
Wear dark blue jewelry or clothing.
Preference: Spellcasters with 13+ Strength
Affinity: Divination, fluttering
Details: Light cream or yellowish-brown with streaks of gray or green; subject to decay and insect damage.

Redwood

Pliability: +1 (Strength)
Requirement: Wear dark red jewelry or clothing.
Preference: Spellcasters with 13+ Dexterity
Affinity: Conjuration, growling
Details: Pale white or yellow to deep red or reddish-brown, lightweight; resistant to decay and immune to insects.

Reed

Pliability: +2 (Dexterity)
Requirement: Play a pan flute daily.
Preference: Thieving spellcasters
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Light brown to yellow; lightweight, breathable hollow tube; immune to decay and insect damage.

Rosewood

Pliability: –1 (Charisma)
Requirement: None
Preference: Female spellcasters
Affinity: Enchantment, rattling
Details: Orange or reddish brown, with darker contrasting streaks; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Snakewood

Pliability: +2 (Charisma)
Requirement: None
Preference: Reptilian spellcasters or those with reptile familiars
Affinity: Illusion, warbling
Details: Reddish brown, with contrasting darker patches forming a snakeskin pattern; fine and even texture with a high natural luster; subject to decay but immune to insect damage.

Sycamore

Pliability: –1 (Constitution)
Requirement: None
Preference: True-Neutral spellcasters
Affinity: Enchantment, rattling
Details: White to light tan, freckled, also called lacewood; subject to decay and insect damage.

Teak

Pliability: –1 (Strength)
Requirement: None
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Invocation, whispering
Details: Golden to medium brown, heavyweight; immune to decay an insect damage.

Tigerwood

Pliability: –2 (Charisma)
Requirement: None
Preference: Combat-skilled spellcasters or feline shapechangers
Affinity: Conjuration, growling
Details: Golden to bright yellow with darker streaks; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Vine

Pliability: +2 (Wisdom)
Requirement: Ensnare an animal once per week.
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Light brown; usually braided or fused; subject to decay and insect damage.

Willow

Pliability: +2 (Dexterity)
Requirement: Wear amber jewelry or clothing.
Preference: Spellcasters with 13+ Constitution
Affinity: Abjuration, wuthering
Details: Yellowish white to pinkish brown, lightweight; subject to decay and insect damage.

Yew

Pliability: –2 (Wisdom)
Requirement: None
Preference: Good or Lawful spellcasters
Affinity: Divination, fluttering
Details: Pale and slightly reddish; immune to decay and insect damage.

 Note: Plywood and particle-board wands have not been invented (yet?). Poison ivy and poison oak have not been successfully used as wand materials. Someone tried, for sure. Feel free to add more.

Wand Affinity: Wands rated +2 or better have a special element to them as regards the style of magic they are best suited for. It corresponds to eight schools of magic established in the 1st and 2nd Editions AD&D game—Abjuration, Alteration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Illusion, Invocation, and Necromancy. These affinities can be retrofitted to simpler OSR games (see the definitions at the end of this section).

            An affinity gives a wand a chance to remember a favored spell it was used to cast. For example: a necromantic wand may be able to remember a spell of this type if its owner used the device to cast one earlier that day. The spellcaster can then cast this spell once more without the need to memorize it or spend a spell slot.

            A +1 wand improving to +2 automatically develops the affinity listed for the material from which it was crafted. This ability does not include spells relating to more than one school of magic. Retained spells are lost at the next sunrise if not cast before then.

            The number of attempts to recall favored spells on any given day matches the wands’ modifiers. Base odds of recalling a spell are 10%, +5% per “plus modifier” of the wand, so a +4 wand has a 30% chance of recalling a favored spell up to 4 times a day. Attempts take place without being prompted by the wands’ owners; only sentient devices give their owners an option to skip an attempt.

            Referees are well within their rights to assign affinities as best fit their purposes rather than use those listed in the previous chart. As another option or when using material that isn’t in the chart, referees can roll on the table below.

            Wand makers can identify an affinity by holding the device close to their ears and slowly rolling it between their fingers, which produces a faint sound betraying its nature. The following table lists affinities and their corresponding resonance. Some affinities are more common than others. The randomizer included here reflects the approximate frequency of spells available in each school of magic.

Random Affinities & Resonance

Roll d00

Affinity

Resonance & Opposition

1-7

Abjuration

Wuthering, like a distant wind

8-34

Alteration

Rustling, like disturbed leaves

35-47

Conjuration

Growling, like a prowling beast

48-54

Divination

Fluttering, like flapping wings

55-67

Enchantment

Rattling, like a snake’s tail

68-80

Illusion

Warbling, like the song of a bird

81-93

Invocation

Whispering, like an indistinct plea

94-100

Necromancy

Moaning, like a wandering spirit

 

OSR Affinity Definitions

·       Abjuration: The will to reject or to deny evokes the power to block, remove, undo, dismiss, or banish unwanted conditions or creatures. Abjuration is in opposition to Conjuration.

·       Alteration: The will to change what already exists into something else evokes the power to subtly modify or completely transform a condition (metathesis), an object (transmutation), a creature (metamorphosis), or their locations (transference—especially moving oneself). Alteration is in opposition to Enchantment.

·       Conjuration: The will to call forth what already exists elsewhere evokes the power to fetch an object or summon a creature (especially calling forth to the caster). Conjuration is in opposition to Abjuration.

·       Divination: The will to perceive evokes the power to distinguish what normal senses cannot, to see through deception, or to fathom the unknown through higher consciousness. Divination is in opposition to Illusion.

·       Enchantment: The will to enable or disable evokes the power to bestow properties upon objects and beings, or to impair the will and abilities of others (affecting natural senses, however, relates to Illusions). Enchantment is in opposition to Alteration.

·       Illusion: The will to deceive evokes the powers to control one’s natural perception of reality, to suggest thoughts and emotions, to dull logic, to blur the limits between conscious and subconscious, and to bring to life the imaginary. Illusion parallels Invocation in that phantasms may be tangible. Illusion is in opposition to Divination.

·       Invocation: The will to create something that did not exist evokes the power to bring into existence matter, energy, tangible forces, and to a certain extent, life. Invocation is in opposition to Necromancy.

·       Necromancy: The will to master entropy and death evokes the power to control or corrupt the nature of existence and all that dwells between life and mortality. As such, it touches upon the divine. Necromancy is in opposition to Invocation.

 Coming Next: Otherworldly Wands

Monday, June 13, 2022

D&D Introduction to Wandcraft, Pt. 2

Click Here to Return to Part 1


Artwork: Moptop400 on Deviantart

Wand Allegiance        

              Wands +1 do not establish bonds with their owners. Whether lost, stolen, given away, or sold, they accept any compatible spellcaster (see the previous article about compatibility). Wands never previously owned, such as those sold by wandmakers, readily accept anyone compatible as their first owners.

            Once bonds are established, wands +2 or better do not switch owners easily. Magic-users and wands cannot maintain more than one bond at the same time. Allegiance can change if a compatible spellcaster personally defeated a wand’s owner. This does not include friendly dueling or training, but genuine combat with or without wands (stealing one does not count). On the other hand, using a wand to disarm an opponent is acceptable (see the previous article about disarming options). If already in possession of a rated wand while defeating another owner, the victor must relinquish one of the two. Wands can be voluntarily loaned, bequeathed, or sold to another spellcaster, provided the latter is compatible.

            If previous owners are dead without having been defeated (such as having passed away of natural causes) or voluntarily rescinded their allegiances, then their orphaned wands may accept any compatible spellcaster. An orphan rated +3 requires a compatible spellcaster with at least half as much experience as its previous owner. A +4 orphan requires a compatible spellcaster with at least two-thirds of its previous owner’s experience.

            Wands still bearing a bond function only as +1 devices in anyone else’s hands, or not at all with incompatible bearers. Like magic swords imbued with an ego, sentient wands may dominate weak owners and force them to do their biddings (see Wands with an Attitude, later in this article). Wands "+0" do exist: they are considered apprentice wands with which students may be equipped while learning from a mentor or attending a school of magic.

From Apprentice Wand to Artifact

            Wands continually in the same owners’ possessions slowly increase their magic ratings. Wands +2 or better require a bond to improve. With AD&D Game mechanics, increase magic ratings +1 for every 3 experience levels owners earn after acquiring their wands. With D&D BECMI (B/X, Classic, and other OSR), wands increase their ratings +1 for every 5 new experience levels instead. These rates can be greatly improved if wands are owned by favored owners, which will be explained in the next article.

            Wands +4 do not improve their ratings any further. Rather, they become self-aware when owners attain their next experience threshold (+3 or +5 new experience levels depending on the game system, as explained above). Their base Intelligence amounts to d3+1 plus half their owners’ Intelligence attributes (rounded up). They can communicate with their owners empathically, and begin chanelling their owners’ alignments and personalities. Once they adopt an owner’s temperament, wands never change afterward; they forever retain the initial traits they acquired when becoming self-aware.

            Empathic wands earn an extra d2 Int (1–2 points) with every subsequent experience threshold their owners attain. When reaching 15 Intelligence, wands can speak (like a magic sword, +1 language per extra point of Int). When reaching 19 Intelligence (the maximum for wands), they become fully telepathic with a 24-mile range. Increase this range +24 miles with every subsequent experience threshold their owners attain. Telepathic wands perceive their surroundings through magic true sight (anything within line-of-sight, as the cleric or magic-user spell).

            At a DM’s option, a truly ancient wand could be considered an artifact, implying it survived many previous high-level owners. For example, after a wand’s telepathic range exceeds 100 miles, it could develop telekinesis (cast as a 9th level magic-user), giving it the ability to levitate and move on its own. This ability improves with each new experience threshold (as if cast by a magic-user level 10, 11, 12, and so on). Whenever it has been self-aware for a century or more, such a wondrous wand could remember spells its owners have cast and use them to hide or defend itself. It would cast these spells at the best levels previous and current owners did, up to 9 levels worth of spells per century of awareness (9 first-level spells or 1 ninth-level spell, or any other combination thereof). By then, demigods might be looking for these fabulous devices.

            Wands stop improving when their bonds are broken, except for age-related abilities. Progression resumes when they find new owners. From the time self-awareness was achieved, they remember past owners, details of their shared existence, as well as defeated contenders. Telepathic wands should be actively looking for compatible archmages from whom they believe they could learn new, more powerful magic.

Wands with an Attitude

            As mentioned earlier, sentient wands possess willpower of their own. This is somewhat comparable to swords with an ego. You can use inspiration from original game mechanics in the 1st Edition AD&D DMG pp. 166 (©1979-1983), the 2nd Edition DMG pp. 186 (©1989) or pp. 247 (©1995), or the D&D Rules Cyclopedia pp. 245 (©1991)—and to heck with rest.

            By now, we already know a wand’s alignment, Intelligence, and its “plus” rating. Whether a sentient wand should inflict any damage upon someone with an offending alignment remains up to a DM. A simple way to determine a wand’s willpower is to roll 2d6+4 and add the wand’s Intelligence rating; increase its willpower +2d8 if the character attempting to wield it is partially or entirely incompatible and +2d8 if its owner attempts to switch allegiance to another wand.

            A character’s willpower is equal to the sum of its Intelligence and Charisma attributes; decrease the character’s willpower –2d4 if lightly wounded or –2d8 if heavily wounded (50% or more). Whoever has the highest willpower controls the other. When to check willpowers and how domination manifests itself is described in the various rulesets mentioned earlier. A dominant wand can decline to inflict damage (if any) upon an unlikely bearer, and dictate instead its wishes.

            A dominant wand may demand its bearer never use or so much as touch another of any kind. Powerful wands are jealous things that may want to destroy potential rivals seeking to earn their owners' favor. To make matters worse, a fully incompatible bearer would be unable to use a dominant wand at all, despite being under its domination. Such a wand could be treated as a cursed item that its bearer cannot get rid of without a spellcaster of sufficient level dispelling its hold. Life is so cruel.

Click Here for Pt. 3: Flick Wendigrint’s Dictionary of Wand Woods and Other Materials, Abridged. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

D&D Introduction to Wandcraft, Pt. 1

In old-style RPGs, wands are typically single-purpose magical devices. An alternative exists with a separate type of wand used only to help cast normal spells and wield defensive magic during combat. I first featured the Harry-Potter-styled spellcasting in Calidar’s CAL1 In Stranger Skies, which introduced wands as powerful “personal devices,” rare and unique items attuned to a single owner. I’d like to look into simpler wands with moderate effects on gameplay but more color and personality, without eliminating conventional wandless spellcasting.

Artwork: Moptop4000 on Deviantart


The idea involves wands rated +1 to +4. This modifier affects two things:

1. Speed: Individual initiative for Spellcasters

2. Defense: Parrying and Saving Throws

Speed: Use the wand’s modifier as a bonus when rolling initiative, assuming the wand’s owner intends to cast a spell. Roll d10s rather than d6s. If relevant to the chosen game mechanics, use the wand’s bonus to reduce casting time (down to 1 Segment minimum). This concerns 1st Edition AD&D and even more so to 2nd Edition whose casting times mostly match spell levels. Casting times listed in Turns aren’t affected, however, those lasting 1 Round can be reduced to the appropriate number of Segments (1 Round = 10 Segments). For D&D-BECMI and similar OSR games, rolling for individual initiative would help, use the rated wands’ bonuses to see when spellcasters can take their turns.

Defense: The wand’s magic can be used to parry melee and missile attacks, just as if its owner were wielding a sword or a shield. Mechanics for parrying vary greatly depending on the chosen game version. Treat the wand’s modifier as a bonus to Armor Class against a specific attack of the owner's choice. Likewise, the wand enables using a combat action to deflect a spell aimed directly at the owner. In this situation, apply the wand’s bonus to a saving throw (provided one is allowed).

            An attempt to deflect an attack whether physical or magical counts as an action. If the players’ intentions have already been declared and the wands’ owners haven’t acted yet, they can still substitute their intended actions with attempts to deflect, regardless of initiative outcomes.

            As an option, the modifier also indicates how many separate attacks could be deflected during the same round. A +1 limits the wand to a single deflection while a +4 wand could thwart up to 4 attacks from different foes, all counted together as a single defensive action during a round. The player picks which attack may be deflected if more than one. Performing fewer deflections than what the wand can handle does not entitle a spellcaster to take some other action during the same round.

As an option, a DM may allow forfeiting two available deflections from wands +3 or better in exchange for a half-move during the round’s movement phase. 

Disarming: This combat action may take place once per round in lieu of all allowable deflections (see Self-Defense above). It counts as a ranged attack limited to a base 90’ range to a visible target, +30’ per “plus” modifier of the wand. The attacking spellcaster needs to roll a d8–2.

            If the score rolled is equal to or less than the wand’s rating, the targeted foe needs to save vs. spells with a penalty equal to the wand’s bonus. If the targeted object possesses a magical modifier of its own, it can be applied as a bonus to its owner’s saving throw. If the saving throw fails, the targeted item flies out of its owner’s hand in a random direction up to 5’ away, plus 10’ per “plus” modifier of the attacking wand (evidently, natural weapons like claws and fangs are unaffected). A targeted foe attempting to deflect a disarming action receives an extra +2 saving throw bonus. One benefit of the disarming mechanics is that it enables magic users to still participate in combat after running out of spells, although success is far from guaranteed.

Wand Movement: Observing the gestures of a wand’s owner provides a clue to another spellcaster on the intended type of action: a spell, a deflection, or a disarming attempt. The target needs to be able to see the attacker(s) to deflect spells. A visible projectile can still be deflected provided the wand’s owner can see where it flies from.

Wand Lengths: They come in 3 sizes—roll 1d6: 1-2. Short (9”-11”), 3-4. Medium (12”-15”), and 5-6. Long (16”-18”). Short wands win ties when rolling for Initiative. Medium-length wands are best for self-defense, conferring an extra +1 bonus to AC or saving throws. Long wands are best for disarming, inflicting an additional –1 penalty to a targeted foe’s saving throw.

            Length does not affect any other properties of the wands, which will be described in a later chapter. The size of a spellcaster isn’t necessarily relevant, although at a DM’s discretion, an owner taller than 6’ using a short wand could lose tied Initiative rolls, while someone shorter than 4’ using a long wand to disarm an opponent could forgo the penalty to an opponent’s saving throw.

The Nature of Wands

            Given the above-mentioned benefits, a rated wand should become an indispensable magic-users’ tool. Its appearance, background story, and the manner in which it was initially enchanted should be of interest. One may assume that the wand chooses its owner, therefore, not all spellcasters should be able to wield all wands, let alone a sentient one.

            The following tables suggest attributes reflecting the philosophy and race of a wand’s original enchanter. To be compatible with a new owner, at least one of the wand’s Shape and Solid Core attributes must fall within a numerical range matching the new owner’s ideals. The desired Shape ranges should be 8 or higher to be compatible with a Lawful character, between 5 and 13 for a Neutral character, and 10 or less for a Chaotic one. The Solid Core ranges are the same but for Good, Neutral, and Evil characters respectively. If both attributes are a match, then the full range of wand’s modifiers is available to its new owner, otherwise, treat as a +1 wand. If neither attribute is a match, then the wand isn’t compatible with its new contender and doesn't work at all.

            When creating a random wand, roll separately for each of all nine attributes, applying the correct adjustment.


Appearance                 (Adjustment: Lawful +2, Neutral nil, Chaotic –2)

Roll 2d8

Shape

Surface Texture

Adornments

0-4

Gnarled

Spikes and thorns

Pommel, tip, and multiple others

5-7

Crooked

Rough, natural bark

Pommel, tip, and one other

8-10

Contoured

Organic pattern

Pommel and tip

11-13

Subdued

Geometric pattern

Pommel

14-18

Straight

Smooth

None

             Shapes: Gnarled wands are the most uneven and twisted devices. A crooked wand is mostly asymmetrical, perhaps with a curved handle or with part of the shaft appearing as a natural piece of wood while the remainder is perfectly straight. A contoured wand features defined and artful shapes: it could be torsade-shaped, evenly braided, ridged, forked, indented, bulging in some places, etc. A subdued device bears a more sober contour, while a straight one is more like a slender, tapering shaft with little or no features. 

            Textures: Smooth wands are unblemished, featureless devices. Geometric patterns are carved on the wands’ surfaces, emphasizing straight lines and angles such as ridges, fretwork, and symmetrical trimmings. Organic patterns involve rounded designs more reminiscent of nature such as floral, leafy, or root-like textures, arabesques, spider webs, cloud or aquatic themes, fish or dragon scales, etc. Rough-style wands are more uneven, with all or part of the wands looking like unaltered pieces of wood. Spikes and thorns are self-explanatory.

            Adornments: They are only suggested here since the list is far from exhaustive. They include incrustations, inserts, plating, tips, pommels, beads, studs, embedded wires, shells, flakes, dangling charms, and so on. An engraved pommel could bear the heraldic arms of the original enchanter or a figure related to the wand’s core components. 

Core Components            (Adjustment: Good +2, Neutral nil, Evil –2)

Roll 2d8

Solid

Fluid (wands +3)

Spiritual (wands +4)

0-1

Fire giant

Red dragon

Demon

2-3

Chimera

Werewolf

Nightmare

4-5

Harpy

Manticore

Hellhound

6-7

Owlbear

Hydra

Mujina

8

Hippogriff

Basilisk

Banshee

9

Wolf

Auroch

Cave Bear

10

Sea serpent

Cockatrice

Elemental (1 of 4)

11-12

Sphinx

Wyvern

Salamander, flame

13-14

Phoenix

Centaur

Djinni

15-16

Pegasus

Griffon

Dryad

17-18

Storm giant

Gold dragon

Unicorn

            Core Components: A rated wand receives up to three core components during its enchantment process. Wands +1 and +2 only have one solid component, such as a hair or a whisker, a feather, desiccated organ powder, sinew, earwax, a bone shard, a fragment of skin, fang, claw, or horn, etc. Wands +3 also have a fluid component, such as bile, saliva, urine, mucus, blood, tears, semen, pus, sweat, stomach acid, or venom. Wands +4 possess all three components, including part of the listed creature’s spirit.

Original Enchanter            (Adj.: Demi-Humans +5, Humans & Dragonkind +5/0, Other 0)

Roll d00

Material

Finish

If Lacquered

1-5

Other Unworldly

Untreated or Polished

Black

6-10

Blackthorn or Bone

11-15

Black Walnut or Bloodwood

16-20

Hawthorn or Larch

21-25

Agar or Alder

26-30

Applewood or Ash

Ashen

31-35

Birch or Cherry

Umber

36-40

Dogwood or Ebony

Crimson

41-44

Elm or Fir

Plum

45-48

Hornbeam or Ivory

Ultramarine

49-52

Mahogany or Maple

Varnished

Moss green

53-56

Oak or Olive Wood

Teal

57-60

Pine or Poplar

Azure

61-64

Redwood or Reed

Celadon

65-68

Snakewood or Sycamore

Scarlet

69-72

Teak or Tigerwood

Amber

73-77

Vine or Willow

Gold

78-82

Acacia or Beech

Silver

83-87

Laurel or Cedar

White

88-92

Elder or Holly

Lacquered

93-97

Rosewood or Ironwood

98-102

Amaranth or Yew

103-105

Other Unworldly

            Original Enchanter: The race of the original wand maker can have a bearing on the material used and how it was treated. Demi-humans include elves, half-elves, gnomes, and fairy folk. Humans/Dragonkind includes humans and spellcasters related to dragons; a choice should be made for this category before rolling dice as to their adjustment (zero or +5), as best fits the wand maker’s philosophy. The “other” category is for all remaining spellcasters, including monstrous creatures.

            Materials: If the day of the month when rolling up the wand is an odd number, pick the first choice. “Other Unworldly” refers to unusual wand materials, such as metal, glassteel, crystal, ceramic, jade, hardened keratin, combinations of diverse materials, or some outer-planar substance at the referees’ discretion. Referees are free to pick materials and their properties.

            Finish: Untreated material is either coarse and with its natural texture or just polished from years of being handled. Ebony, bone, and ivory only ever get polished (no varnish, staining, or lacquering). Varnish gives a satin or glossy shine to the material’s natural color and grain (bark-like surfaces always retain their coarse textures).

            Lacquering: This process involves a tint masking the original material, which is listed in the third column. When checking tints, rolling doubles implies two colors (roll again, ignoring duplicate results).

Document updated June 25 2022 11:09 am.

Click Here for: Pt. 2 Allegiance, Advancement, Willpower.